A common theme emerges when industry peers talk about Larry Taylor. He’s an outstanding contractor, a great businessman, and a loyal friend and mentor. But he’s also a devoted family man who has never lost sight of what’s really important in life.

A 1970 graduate of the HVAC program at Oklahoma State Tech, Taylor started in the industry in 1971 as a service technician at TDIndustries and worked his way up through the ranks, becoming a technician supervisor, branch manager, vice president, and, eventually, an owner, purchasing AirRite Air Conditioning, Fort Worth, TX, in 1990.

Today, AirRite ranks as one of the finest residential heating and cooling businesses in the country. The company was named Contracting Business.com’s Residential Contractor of the Year in 2004 and the Air Conditioning Contractors of America’s (ACCA’s) Residential Contractor the Year in 2012. Taylor is semi-retired, having sold AirRite late last year, but he remains involved in the company as a business advisor.

Taylor served as chairman of the Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA) in 2001. That same year he received ACCA’s highest honor, the “Spirit of Independence” Award, which is presented to an individual who has made significant and lasting contributions to the strength, success, and independence of HVACR contractors.

“Larry is a tremendous leader in our industry, an awesome businessman, and a great family man,” says Mitchell Cropp, CEO of CroppMetcalfe, Fairfax, VA. “He’s very trustworthy in everything he says and does. He’ll help you out anytime you think you need him, and he’ll be there before you think you need him.”

Steve Saunders, CEO of Tempo Partners, Inc., and Tempo Mechanical Services, Irving, TX, says young technicians can learn much about how to build a career and a life by looking at Larry Taylor.

“Larry started as a service technician, worked his way through the ranks, then stopped being a technician and became a businessman,” Saunders says. “He learned to work on the business, not in the business. He’s entrepreneurial. Larry has always studied the trends of the present and turned that into a good vision about the future.”

Saunders also tipped his cap to Taylor for sharing his knowledge widely and openly. “Larry found that he could learn more by teaching others what he knew,” Saunders says. “Larry was and is always striving to be better, smarter, and have a positive impact on others.”

Lee Rosenberg chairman and partner, Rosenberg Indoor Comfort, San Antonio, TX, says Taylor is a leader, an innovator, an entrepreneur, and a true gentleman who has been dedicated to the HVAC industry throughout his life.

“Larry has conducted himself in a professional manner and built his business on the ideals of honesty and integrity,” Rosenberg says.

In nominating Taylor for the Contracting Business.com Hall of Fame, Patrice Pruitt-Story, former executive director of the North Texas Chapter of ACCA, says that even in his early years of ownership Taylor wanted to set AirRite apart from the rest of the pack.

“Larry immersed himself and his technicians into education and training,” Pruitt-Story says. “He invested thousands of dollars and man-hours into learning from the best in the industry.”

Today, Taylor is on the board of directors for the Service Roundtable and is a business coach and advisory board facilitator for the Service Nation Alliance. In addition, he returns the training knowledge in ways that improve the entire industry. C.T. Loyd, chief operating officer, Texas Home Energy Rating Organization (Texas HERO), Austin, TX, credits Taylor for his pioneering work as the founding president of the organization.

“Larry guided Texas HERO through the early years, enabling the fledgling organization to become respected, both in Texas and nationally,” he says. “He could see the transecting horizons of the energy efficiency and HVAC industries and the need to work together. Larry has taught me a lot about what a leader should be.”

“His love of family and friends parallels that of his love for the industry,” Rosenberg says. “He is a true legend in our industry.”

Steve Saunders concludes: “Larry never forgot to love his wife. Larry never forgot to care for his children. Larry always participated in his industry and his community. He is a good role model. This is how it is done.”

Congratulations to Larry Taylor as he enters the Contracting Business.com Hall of Fame!